BOSTON, MA (April 10, 2011) — Jobs for the Future (JFF) today released three new publications examining innovative ways community colleges are serving their students, communities, and emerging workforce needs.
Informed by research from the MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award program and other JFF initiatives, the briefs highlight effective examples of preparation in mathematics and for careers in health care and the green economy. Each offers new perspectives on the issue of college and career readiness.
“Across the nation, community colleges are leaders in providing educational and career opportunities for students of all ages and supporting local economic development,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “The profiles of innovation in these publications provide good news for students and the future of America’s workforce.”
“Community colleges are instrumental in preparing, retraining, and reenergizing the U.S. workforce for the 21st century,” said Marlene B. Seltzer, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future. “The colleges featured in these briefs provide prime examples of creative solutions that specifically address community-based challenges.”
This brief looks at three community colleges that have made significant investments in programs that improve student success in developmental math and have demonstrated outcomes.
Nearly 60 percent of incoming community college students are unprepared for college-level work and must take at least one pre-college, “developmental” course, usually in math or English, before enrolling in any credit-bearing classes toward a degree. Students are more likely to fail developmental math than any other course in higher education, according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
This brief highlights some of the ways community colleges are addressing community needs while preparing frontline incumbent workers and low-income individuals for family-sustaining careers in health care careers—including advancement to allied health care and nursing jobs.
The health care sector has been a major source of economic growth in recent years. One result is the rising demand for training in health care for frontline staff in jobs that range from direct patient care to support and administrative roles. They include but are not limited to home health aides, nursing and medical assistants, laboratory technicians, community health educators, and substance abuse workers.
The nation’s 1,200 community colleges are well positioned to strengthen the workforce for this sector, which is one of America’s most critical. They can provide training and credentialing for incumbent workers in health care and prepare new workers to succeed in and meet the workforce demands for this sector—expanding individual opportunity and economic vitality.
Featuring: Portland Community College, Portland, OR; Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA; Leeward Community College, Waianae, HI; Renton Technical College, Renton, WA; Owensboro Community & Technical College, Owensboro, KY; Pitt Community College, Greenville, NC; Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA; Austin Community College, Austin, TX; Madisonville Community College, Madisonville, KY; Lewis & Clark Community College, Godfrey, IL; Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, OH.
This brief highlights leadership by three community colleges in “greening” their operations, curricula, and communities, while simultaneously addressing local and regional employment and environmental needs.
The emerging and expanding green economy has the potential to create not just jobs, but career opportunities across the United States as green manufacturing, products, and services fuel demand for workers at all skill levels. Community colleges are leading the way in defining and addressing these opportunities, developing programs in expanding fields from solar energy to green construction; creating new and better training programs for green jobs; and developing educational pathways that lead to the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees that are key for advancing in these emerging careers.
The continuing recession and the prospect of longer-term changes in local economies provide opportunities for all community colleges to demonstrate their value by helping businesses and individuals adjust to challenging economic environments and increase their resilience and chances of prospering.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation supports education, health, civic, and cultural organizations. In education, it seeks to strengthen public schools through effective teaching and collaborative leadership, and to prepare students for access to and success in higher education, particularly during the crucial first year. The Foundation’s grantmaking is informed by findings from the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher.
About Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling to succeed in today’s economy.